Studies put South Transit Street in focus

·2 min read

May 28—After two deaths on South Transit Street due to drivers striking pedestrians, city officials are working on a study that focuses on making the street safer.

The first victim was Richard Howes III, who was hit by two vehicles on March 18. Sean Kelahan and Tyreek Wolfe have been charged with manslaughter, as well as reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident, in regard to Howes' death.

The second crash was also a hit-and-run and occurred on May 5 at 5:44 a.m. at the intersection of S. Transit and Nicholls Streets, according to a Lockport Police Department press release. One of two drivers who hit the victim have been located, but has not been named. The victim's name has also not been released to the public.

Mayor Michelle Roman said that the traffic advisory board is in the process of gathering information on the S. Transit Street from Ruhlmann Road to Main Street.

At the same time, the New York State Department of Transportation has an ongoing 2020 traffic study on Route 78 in Niagara County.

The NYSDOT made a short statement explaining that the deaths were not the cause of its study.

"As a routine process, every year NYSDOT compiles a list of locations for further study based upon an assessment of collision rates," it read. "The location along Route 78 was selected based on data provided by NYSDOT's Office of Traffic Safety and Mobility."

NYSDOT studies evaluate crash data, field conditions, as well as potential alternatives and countermeasures to stop future accidents. The traffic study should be complete by the end of Summer 2022.

The city's study will be looking at a variety of factors, Roman said, including, "the number of accidents over the last four years, traffic signal operations, speed limit signs, street light inventory and pedestrian crossing areas."

According to Roman, the City's Highway and Parks Department would be handling the signage, the city engineer will be looking into electric streetlights and the Lockport Police Department would be compiling the accident reports along the stretch of road.

There is no estimate on when the study will be complete.

"This will take time to collate," Roman said. "Then the traffic advisory board will meet to review this information in conjunction with the NYSDOT traffic study to come up with feasible solutions."